Servant leadership is based on the idea that great leaders possess a serve-first mindset that focuses on knowing what their team members need to actualize the organization’s vision. The founder of this great philosophy, Robert Greenleaf, had great faith that servant-leader organizations have incredible potential to change the world. The conscious effort to ensure that other people’s highest priority needs are being served can unlock potential, creativity, and a sense of purpose, empowering people to perform their best. Once your team is successful, you will be successful too.
Below, we will dive into why servant leadership is important for a growing organization.
Servant Leadership and Why it Matters
To sustain a healthy organization and aim for long-term success, people at all levels of the organization need to feel supported and have the authority to make decisions that matter. A good servant leader ensures people have the opportunities and resources to do their best work in an environment that encourages great performance.
Unlike traditional leadership models where accumulation and exercise of power are at the top of the pyramid, servant-leaders do not view leadership as a position of superiority. It is not about weakness or being a push-over either, but recognizing the needs of others to create change, build growth, empower, as well as provide real value for the customers. They still lead in critical ways.
That said, there are behaviors and practices that servant leaders must adopt on a regular basis. These behaviors are focused on personal decisions and how you interact with others.
How to Embody Servant Leadership In Your Own Team?
Listening and Engaging With Others
We all know too well how people claim to be listening when in actuality they are just waiting for their turn to speak. Servant leaders are focused on developing their communication skills by listening intently to what their team has to say. This lets you understand problems from other people’s perspectives and helps build a stronger relationship with them, which is incredibly valuable to any business, especially a startup/growing organization.
Serving the Greater Good
A servant leader also recognizes that people have valid thoughts and feelings and if they are sad, stressed out, or otherwise experiencing emotional or mental distress, they may not be able to perform at their best. By prioritizing a healthy and peaceful work environment and guiding teammates through their healing process, you can nurture a healthy organizational culture.
Leading by Example
A big part of a servant leader’s responsibility is leading their team with actions. They demonstrate that they aren’t above everyone else, but are part of the team and focused on achieving common goals. By demonstrating the values and behaviors you want to see in others, you will be seen as a better leader, capable of creating a sense of purpose and pushing people forward with credibility, respect, inspiration, trust, and vision.
Investing in Team Development
Just as the very foundation of servant leadership requires a desire and conscious commitment to prioritize the needs of others before self, these leaders are legitimately committed to the professional development and success of others. By recognizing when your team members need appropriate training, resources, equipment, and support, you will create a more empowered team that is successful in its roles.
When all your effort is to assist in improving the performance of your people, a strong bond of trust grows by leaps and bounds because they know you have their best interest at heart. In return, this level of trust and connection allows teams to make decisions that are in the best interest of the organization and everyone involved. An uncaring, self-absorbed leader who views their people as nothing more than a tool to get something done cultivates disengagement, apathy, and, ultimately, failure.
As opposed to traditional leadership which focuses more on hoarding and exercising power at the top, servant leaders want to delegate duties to their team and trust them to make decisions and exercise autonomy. They directly engage with their team members and often assign them the reins on a project, while they get their hands dirty under a staff member’s direction.
A servant leader maintains foresight as a central leadership trait that enables them to lead with purpose and direction. Such a leader is completely present in the activities and events of today while being connected to the past, and considering how they will affect the future. By listening and engaging with others, you are better able to understand another’s aspirations and anticipate their opportunities.
How Servant Leadership Improves Your Organization?
Overall Improvement in Job Performance
Servant leadership is more likely to produce talented, motivated, and knowledgeable team members who in turn help to improve the overall operations and management of the organization. A team that feels seen and valued by their leader is more motivated and shows more pride in their work which results in higher productivity.
Reduction in Turnover
Hiring and training employees following turnover events is a tremendous business expense. Servant leadership greatly reduces costly employee turnover because employees are happy at work, and tend to be inclined to stick around. This means less money is spent recruiting and training staff.
Better Company Culture
Overall, your company culture will thrive under servant leadership. When everyone begins to face outwardly to serve each other, it makes the work environment a healthy, happy, and thriving place which in turn benefits the entire organization. There isn’t cutthroat competition or drama as a servant leadership culture promotes effective communication and problem-solving strategies. Everyone wants the best for each other.
Ultimately, servant leadership is a way of life. It’s more than a leadership hack or passing fad. And while it demands extra attention, in the long run, your team will deliver better results and appreciate you immensely for the role you play in advancing their careers.
If you are looking to learn more about how servant leadership can transform your business and boost your leadership skills, the professionals at Etech can help. Contact us today to get started.